I bet the Houston clubhouse attendants are happy.  They won’t need to clean up stale champagne and beer out of the visitor’s clubhouse.  Not after the Astros beat the Cardinals 3-0 to delay the NL Central Division clinching celebration.  The Cubs lost at Milwaukee, so the magic number is one.

John Smoltz, who had goggles ready in his locker will have to wait at least one more day.  He didn’t pitch bad, he just didn’t pitch better than Bud Norris who shut down the Cardinals again.  In his first major league start on August 2 nd , he went six innings without allowing a run.  Last night, he went seven scoreless innings while allowing six hits.  Norris is now 2-0 against St. Louis with just eight hits allowed and no earned run in 13 innings.

Smoltz went six innings allowing just two runs on five hits.  He’s struggled getting out of the chute the last couple of starts, but Smoltz retired the side in the first two innings before giving up a lead-off double to Kaz Matsui to start the third.  Then with one out, Norris helped his own cause by singled Matsui to the third.  Smoltz struck out Michael Bourn, but Miguel Tejada singled to put Houston up 1-0.  Tejada would double, then score on a sac fly by Carlos Lee in the sixth off of Smoltz.

The Cubs play in San Francisco Thursday night while the Cardinals are off before starting a series in Colorado.  The Giants and Rockies are locked in a wild card battle and this weekend could be a first round preview.  The Cardinals could clinch the Central Division title if the Cubs lose tonight.